Why The African Union Is Expanding Its Relationship With Huawei

Written by Staff
In this Wednesday, July 4, 2018, photo, the Huawei logo is seen at a Huawei store at a shopping mall in Beijing. The biggest global supplier of network gear and the No.3 smartphone brand behind Samsung and Apple has faced complaints it improperly copied technology. Founded by a former Chinese military engineer in 1987, Huawei ranks No. 1 among Chinese companies in research and development spending and said its 2017 total rose 17 percent to 89.7 billion yuan ($13.8 billion). (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Huawei is currently fighting a ban in the US aimed at curtailing purchases on its equipment and limiting its global reach. But that’s not the case in Africa, where the company has rapidly expanded since starting operations here over two decades ago.

The Chinese telecommunications giant today announced a three-year memorandum of understanding to improve the technical expertise of the African Union and to cooperate on key issues related to information and communication technologies.

From Quartz Africa. Story by Abdi Latif Dahir.

As part of the agreement, Huawei will partner with the continental body to strengthen sectors including internet of things, cloud computing, broadband, rolling out 5G networks, and artificial intelligence. The initiative will also train young people in tech skills, and offer AU departments support in dealing with cybersecurity, as well as digital health and education.

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The deal follows a 2015 MOU which focused on improving the union’s technological capabilities, including by organizing annual tours to Huawei’s training centers in China.

The timing of the agreement is crucial and strategic for the Shenzhen-headquartered company, which currently finds itself in the crosshairs of Washington DC. United States president Donald Trump has accused the company of stealing trade secrets and violating US sanctions against Iran and has barred American firms from dealing or selling equipment to Huawei.

The clash is part of a bigger gambit set by Trump against China over trade amid Beijing’s growing industrial, economic, and technological foothold. Trump has threatened to introduce more tariffs over the slow pace of the negotiations, while Beijing has warned of cutting exports of rare earths used in everything from smartphones to military hardware.

Read more at Quartz Africa.